WP Mainline Episode 7 – Yoast Acquired by Newfold Digital, Freemium Sucks, and Capital P Dangit

In this episode, Malcom Peralty and I discuss a variety of topics including our thoughts on the Freemium model. Personally, I’m tired of the freemium model and want to see two tiers, free or paid. I share my viewing experience of the Perseid meteor shower which put on another good show this year.

The conversation around correcting people who forget to camelcase WordPress has popped up again. Camel casing WordPress over the past 13 years has caused me to camelcase product and business names by default, then having to check if it’s correct. I suppose I have the opposite problem of Capital P Dangit.

We discuss an interesting monetizing strategy for the WordPress.org plugin directory which involves profit sharing to developers of commercial plugins hosted on the directory. But first, the directory would have to open up and allow commercial plugins to be hosted alongside free ones. This is an idea that has been tossed aside in the past but never say never. Last but not least, we share out thoughts Yoast being acquired by Newfound Digital.

Stories Discussed:

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Speaker 1 00:00:19 Welcome to episode seven of WP mainline for Friday, August 13th, 2021. I’m your host, Jeff Chandler and joined by Malcolm. Perotti the ever so elusive, but very lucky Friday the 13th. Are you superstitious? Not typically now. I don’t know why my brain always sticks on a Friday at 30 and I’m like, oh, it’s a Friday the 13th because they never happened. I don’t, I think the horror movie craze kind of made kind of put all the relevance to Friday the 13th that it’s not, I’ve never found it to be a, an unlucky day or a day where bad things happen. I mean, Hey, it’s a Friday. So we got that going for us. You know, you can’t, can’t really hate on a Friday. I think, uh, I think worse things happen more on a full moon than a kind of Friday the 13th. You’re probably right. That gravitational pool messes with people’s heads, man.
Speaker 1 00:01:14 There’s actually research out there that shows that during a full moon, like calls to nine 11 and hospital visits and it’s just people go crazier. I don’t know something to do with the full moon there’s research out there about it. But you got to wonder if it’s a it’s if it’s a cause and effect thing, right. Is it the moon or is it people deciding because the moon is that way that they can act a little bit more silly. Oh, well, I don’t know. Perhaps you have a, perhaps you have a point. All right. So, um, so last, actually last week, uh, I mentioned, I covered a lot of things. We had me and John James Jacoby just kind of had one of those episodes where we’re just, uh, I had no show notes and we decided to just riff it and it turned out okay.
Speaker 1 00:01:56 We had things to get off our chest. And I think, uh, people always enjoy those kinds of episodes where they get to hear the real deal and hear what people were experiencing and whatnot. So it was fun to do that. I mentioned the Perseids meteor shower, and last night was the peak of the meteor shower. And I thought that it was going to be pretty cloudy here. In fact, it was, but between about two to 4:00 AM, there was a, it like cleared out. There’s a patch of clear skies here. And I was able to see about 30 meteors, about 10 of those are really bright and had, uh, those tales that looked like glitter that fade away. It looks like smoke in the sky. I got to tell you folks seeing those meteors, it’s just awesome every year. And it’s nice. It was warm. And I had a breeze and I’m surprised I didn’t fall asleep in the driveway, but, uh, yeah, the person meters, it’s supposed to be perfect weather this weekend around here.
Speaker 1 00:02:46 So we’re going to try and get out and look at them again. I actually saw quite a few of them a week before the peak. So if you folks have a chance to get out there and look at them, I highly highly recommend that because you know, usually during a year you look up the nice guy and you’re just hoping and hoping and hoping and waiting and waiting and waiting to see something. At least this time, you’re pretty much guaranteed to see something. Uh, if you, if you stare up there long enough within, you know, 2030, you got to give it about 20, 30 minutes, but I live like 10 miles south of Cleveland. And I was, it was dark enough here to where I could see Jupiter. I could see Saturn there’s no moon. Um, man, it was, it was quite the show. No doubt.
Speaker 1 00:03:23 And that’s, I think a super important part of it is making sure that you are kind of out of the, the city area to get that pollution, get that really nice dark sky effect. Yeah, for sure. No. What I need to do is get some plane tickets to go down, uh, uh, Carl Hancock’s house down in Costa Rica. Cause he could see the Milky way from his house. I know it’s crazy. The pictures that he can get on his phone, isn’t it? Yeah. Yeah. I want an iPhone that takes, uh, or some kind of phone to take pictures like that at night. And if I wanted actually photos on a, I take a lot of pictures via my phone. I rely on my phone a lot for taking pictures and I actually I’m a night owl. So there’s a lot of opportunities and times where I’d like to take pictures at night, but this iPhone XR and previous I-phones I’ve had their nice put your suck.
Speaker 1 00:04:08 But if you look at what, like Samsung phones produced some of the newer ones, holy moly man, just insane image quality. But apparently Carl has one of the newest I-phones and his nighttime photos actually look pretty good. So I think it’s the iPhone 12. Yeah, I think you’re probably right. I’m not sure. All right. So we want us to get out into some WordPress stuff because that’s what this, show’s kind of all about what’s going on during the week. Uh, we’ll start off with, uh, an experience I had last week related, related to the Gutenberg block editor and I was writing the post, uh, for WP main line. And I was in a situation where I wanted to copy a section of a quote from another website, which was a paragraph and uh, ordered lists. It might’ve been an unordered list and then a paragraph and then paste that into my editor.
Speaker 1 00:05:06 And I was able to do that, but it, uh, turned everything into just like a paragraph block, not one separate paragraph block or it did something weird. Um, so what I tried to do was transform that text, that single area of text into a quote block, because that’s essentially what I wanted, even though I split everything up into three blocks. I wanted it to just be a cool block while it turns out that, you know, when you click on the transform tool after selecting the three blocks, it’s not an option. You can either turn them into a group of blacks or columns. And you know, this is just another one of those experiences in the black area. That just makes no sense to me. So I said, okay, you know, how difficult is it to do this in the classic editor? So I fired up a test instance of WordPress install, the classic plugin and copied the text, wrap the quote around it, very easy.
Speaker 1 00:06:02 I mean, accomplished what I set out to do. Apparently there’s a lot more going on with these blocks and the relationships between them, which causes these types of issues versus the classic editor that just wrapped some, uh, black cool lines around a bunch of text or whatever it is you wanted to wrap around. Uh, the black editor being a lot more sophisticated leading to cases like this, but it still, I, you know, uh, the black editor needs some work in, you know, I was expecting it to just to just work, you know, I cut, highlight this text and put it into, uh, transform it into a quote block and that wasn’t possible. And boy, that was, uh, that made me scratch my head. I was. And what do you know? I wrote about it. Yeah. I mean, these are the kinds of issues that I probably deal with.
Speaker 1 00:06:53 Um, troubleshooting tickets and my business, uh, probably on at least a weekly, if not like multiple times a week kind of basic, can I do this? I highlighted this, I clicked this button. Why doesn’t it work? Yeah. Yeah. I mean, and then I’m telling them, you know, you got to backspace and get it all into the same code. Yeah. It seems really silly and really frustrating for the end-user and even myself, like I have to learn like, okay, how do we make an end run around this? Or what is like the bypass or what is the fix for this? And, uh, it doesn’t make me feel good. It doesn’t make the software look good. Um, it stops their publishing process. And I think you and I have talked about it before, when you’re in a flow of the last thing you want is to run into some issue like this because it totally throws you off.
Speaker 1 00:07:41 Um, it, it totally stifles any kind of creativity. It slows down any progress and it might get you to the point of frustration where you’re looking for a different way to publish content. And that’s really unfortunate because it’s not like Gutenberg is new anymore. And I don’t think that what you were looking for or requesting is outside of the sphere of what should have existed. And I think you prove that when you use the classic editor plugin and use the old Wiziwig editor that was baked into WordPress for years and years and years, and we’re able to do it just fine. And I get that Gutenberg has complexities to it. I get that it adds additional features, but this is not the kind of user experience that we want someone new coming to WordPress to ever have to deal with. That that is such a bummer kind of experience. That’s right. If I run into one more problem like this, I’m going to class, that’s it.
Speaker 1 00:08:34 And so, uh, yeah, the WP mainland would be a what CP mainline, I guess. Yeah. I’m going to have to do a complete rebranding. I’m going to have to probably not do that. And then the Canadian Pacific railway comes after you and they’re like, Hey man, you can’t use CP in your, in your name because we own CP, you know, so dunno if I want to talk about this, but well, I I’ll, I’ll, I’ll throw it out there. I’ll see who, who pays attention to the show. But if you look at the branding of WP mainline, you’ll notice that I think it’s in the eye, there’s like a feather and that’s a throwback to Western Pacific railroad WP. So it’s, it’s, it’s pretty cool. A little bit of an Easter egg. And uh, I thought it was really cool to kind of slide in, in there.
Speaker 1 00:09:17 Nobody’s questioning me about it or as, uh, as brought it up. But now, you know, I have the secrets out was when I asked you about it, you better know the answer and if they don’t, then we know that don’t listen to you. Yeah, that’s that’s right. Peter Wilson. Uh, I follow him on Twitter. He’s a avid WordPress contributor has been for a long time. Uh, he brought up an issue that, you know, comes up every now and again, it’s sort of like the, the, uh, the cycle of afford press things to bring up and to mention. But he says in a, in a tweet quote, stop at capital P underscore dang-it, which is a Twitter account about the capital P dang it filter. And he says, the WordPress ecosystems obsession with case is one of the ugliest things about it. It’s unhelpful and unwelcoming and simply needs to stop and quilt.
Speaker 1 00:10:08 And what he’s talking about is there’s a Twitter account called capital P on the score day. And it’s just a bot I found out. And when people on Twitter spell WordPress with a lowercase P instead of camel casement, which is the correct spelling of the word of a trademark term, the bot kind of mentioned it and it just says, capital P dang it or something to that effect, which could be derogatory. And what have you. And what this did is it kind of created yet another conversation around the whole notion of, of camel casing. And over the years, what we’ve seen is the a few unders if you spell WordPress with the lowercase, P a, it makes you look unprofessional. At least that’s the perspective of many throughout the WordPress scene. And B it kind of makes you look like you, you have no idea what you’re doing or what you’re saying.
Speaker 1 00:11:03 See, it’s just a misspelling. I mean, it’s not the correct way to, to write WordPress. And a number of years ago, uh, the capital P dang it filter was added to WordPress. So that any time you would write an article and use a lowercase P in WordPress, it would automatically switch it to the correct version of WordPress and, you know, truth be told if you go back and Google and you look at the history I wrote about this and I was against it. And I said, no, I don’t think that these filters, this particular filter should have a say into how I write my content, even though it’s correcting it and whatnot, you know, that should be my choice, how I write WordPress should be ultimately my choice, not the softwares. And I still kind of, I still kind of feel that way. Um, but we we’ve seen, uh, throughout the conversation here on this particular tweak that, uh, eh, guests, guests who try and in one of your favorite people, Carl Hancock, and he says, quote, uh, the fact that, uh, and he’s, he’s talking to somebody else who mentioned that they had just joined automatic when they did a presentation, they accidentally spelled WordPress for the lowercase P and this person said that they were notified of it gently, but then Carl responded that the fact that any, that them or anyone else who feels any kind of shame for such a simple, completely inconsequential capitalization, heir illustrates why the obsession with others, correcting people, you don’t capitalize it gently or not is absurd.
Speaker 1 00:12:39 And then he goes on to say that as long as people are talking about it, as long as people are using WordPress, that’s all that really matters. Casual users don’t care about the correct casein and rightfully so and simply a tool for them.
Speaker 1 00:12:55 So I’m guilty of this. I’m going to, I’m going to put that out there. I’m guilty. I’ve I’ve to, to me, I don’t like it when I see, well, I’m guilty to the point where I see other major news media publications do a lowercase P and also it irks me when they say that automatic is the parent of WordPress, or, you know, yeah. Something to that effect, which is correct. Now, the reason I care is because, I mean, this is my livelihood. This is something I’ve been passionate about for, well, over a decade now. Um, I don’t expect necessarily someone new to WordPress to know what they like, how they should be spelling it. Um, and I also completely understand that for, you know, even as an English speaker, it’s a really dumb way to do like, type, right? Like to see it, no space and have a capital in the middle of the word.
Speaker 1 00:13:46 Like we in English, we don’t do that except with like, like logo type or brands. Um, and so it’s kind of outside that understanding. So if you’re English as a second language, especially I don’t ever expect anyone who’s English as a second language to understand there should be a capital P in the middle of the word and people who have difficulty with English or, or any kind of, um, you know, uh, learning issue related to kind of, uh, words and things like that. I don’t expect you to get it right. Either. I think for me though, I’m because I’m so passionate about WordPress and because I’ve been, you know, in multiple different ways using it for so long, I get a little protective of it because to me getting the brand right is, uh, important because it’s, it, it pays my bills. It feeds my family C U lowercase P in WordPress.
Speaker 1 00:14:36 That’s it press Titan. I can’t, I that’s, it you’ve lost all credibility with me, buddy. I know. Right. It’s so sad. I joke about that, but that is actually a legit thing, a legit feeling that can happen in a WordPress space, that if Malcolm writes articles on the press tightened blog and he’s, and you see blatant misspellings of WordPress, people in the community will look at that and say, how can you be involved in active and have a job, or an agency centered around WordPress and constantly be misspelling. It what’s, what’s your problem, dude. Yeah. And it’s, it’s because of that. And because like, I mean, we’ve been beaten over the head with this for years. And like you said, the filter is actually in the software as well. Um, so because it’s been happening for so long, I guess it’s kind of one of those things where it’s like, like, please don’t beat on me anymore.
Speaker 1 00:15:28 Like, I’ll do whatever you want. And, and that’s not a good introduction to this community at all. I think, I think that is the main thing. People point out in all of this. And I think that’s the thing that we should all try to hold onto is that understanding that people shouldn’t have to know that this is a thing. So let’s like not make it such a thing anymore. Well, I think what it also comes down to is the way in which we inform one another on the, on this mistake it, and what, what the bots doing is just stupid. It’s just blatantly saying, Hey, stupid capital P dang it. Come on. What are you doing? And I think it’ll always be a thing, but I think, you know, for, for humans, not bots that we can gently privately say, Hey, this is the correct spelling.
Speaker 1 00:16:16 And if you don’t do it this way, you know, it’s kind of not seen in the WordPress. I know it sucks that it is this way, but if, if, if you misspell it or you use a lowercase P this is how you, you will be viewed, or this is some of the perception that will be placed upon you. So, you know, maybe in the future, just make sure that you capitalize the P camel casing, WordPress, all these years note it’s done to me. It makes me camel case words. That don’t mean that’s what it’s done is actually broken me like gravity, gravity forms. I think the, I think the F informs his camel case, but I always have to double check. And there are other words that I’ve did have camel case that absolutely don’t need to be Kimmel case. So now I’m always, double-checking these words that are put together and seeing if it’s camel case or not just, just to get it right.
Speaker 1 00:17:07 Yeah. So like gravity forms, I don’t know if it was always this way, but now they actually have like the space in the name. So it’s gravity space forms. Um, rocket genius, uh, I think was no, that’s dope. That’s one of the ones I camel case the G yeah. And that is not supposed to be a capital G lowercase G money. So, so when, when, uh, my business partner and I Krog came up with press Titan as a name for our business, I did the exact same thing as WordPress. I made. I mean, it’s one word capital, a capital P capital T. And it’s, yeah. It drives me nuts to this day that we did that. Like, we should’ve just done it as two separate words. Cause then my English brain would be okay with it. Um, but we didn’t, and it’s fine and it’s whatever.
Speaker 1 00:17:48 But so if I write an article about press tightened and I lowercase the T, well, don’t worry about it at all. I mean, if anyone reads an article about my company, I’m just going to be happy about it. That’s a, that’s a, that’s a great way to look at it. Uh, so widgets and WordPress 5.8 and beyond, I was just checking this article out earlier today. Um, kind of tell us a little bit about it and what, uh, any coincides from this. Yeah. So I think one of the really interesting things, or one of the things that was really fun for me was actually to see, um, in the images in the article, they, they have a big image that you can look at that shows kind of how they would build out like a, um, a block sidebar, a block comment area, a block like recent posts or a related posts area.
Speaker 1 00:18:38 And they show not just like the output of the design, but they also show which blocks they would have used in the list view. And I don’t know if you’ve ever used the list view and in Gutenberg before, um, it’s, it’s super ugly, but I’ve seen it a few times and it’s like, wow, I’m actually using all these blocks and the posts. And I think that was my, my, uh, I had a little bit of a frowny face when I saw how, just how many blocks it was taking to do these school things just neither here nor there, but I still think it is probably the, the best way that I’ve seen so far in showing how we can build out these experiences with like the full page, um, site editing, using blocks. Uh, and the result is just absolutely stunning. I mean, if you have the understanding of how to do these things or how to use blocks to create these kinds of user experiences, I think that will really be a very powerful opportunity in WordPress.
Speaker 1 00:19:36 Um, I think one of the cool things too, was they’re looking at like a 2016 theme. I think we’re in 2021 now. So this is a theme that has been around for, you know, not a short period of time in the WordPress space. Uh, and they’ve been able to kind of show how Gutenberg blocks can bring new power and new life to these older things. And I think that is a super interesting kind of tangent to take this discussion on too. Yeah. What I liked about it is the, the, the videos showing the comparison between what was, what is, what was possible in the classic editor or not, not classic yet, but the classic widget screen and the, uh, the visual sort of classic widget and the how limited you were in there, especially like the work area, the space compared to the new block-based widget editor.
Speaker 1 00:20:25 And they were showing examples like you could, you can create a, you could put a search block, overlay that on top of like a cover image block so that you can have a nice image behind your search bar. And then below that you can add maybe a call to action, or like, in this example it showed, uh, some copy, but then it showed like the word open and then you apply some JavaScript to it because it’s a custom HTML block. And then based on the time of day that open would change to closed. So you can create, uh, just with blocks and a little bit of JavaScript to the custom HTML block, if you’re able to create a black, no, open-close that used to take, you know, a widget or an entire plugin, just to do something like that. Now you’re able to do that just with some blocks and a little bit of JavaScript code.
Speaker 1 00:21:15 And I thought that was neat. That was a pretty cool example. Yeah. I don’t know how many older themes are, are going to easily transition to this. Um, but this post on wordpress.org probably made me the most excited. I’ve been so far about the idea of bringing blocks to widgets, man, to hear you just say the word excited, and then WordPress, somebody I’m going to take a drink. I know it’s been a while. Hasn’t it with you though? And then they also mentioned that you’ll be able to copy and paste existing lamps from the WordPress pattern directory. I have not actually checked out the pen and directory yet, or even looked into how to create a black pattern, but apparently that’s the bee’s knees right now. And to be able to just copy a pattern and put it right into your site, even in the sidebar is going to be pretty darn cool. Now, right now it’s not actually patterns of mapping curated for integrated into the widget areas yet. So they consider that a preview of things to come and some of the possibilities, but yeah, so some of the things you could do by layering blocks, you know, you’re not just limited to a widget and the output that’s there. Now you could put a couple of blacks together and you can have a pretty snazzy look.
Speaker 1 00:22:36 Yeah. I mean, I, I can’t wait to see how, you know, actual end users are able to take advantage of this. Um, I’m not a designer, I’m not a programmer. You’re not a designer. You’re not a programmer. I just like to click buttons. Yeah. How much of this is going to be easily accessible to people like you? And I, I don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see, right. I mean, it’s a cool idea, but I think, I think it still takes that, uh, you know, that vision, that understanding of how far you can push these things. And I’m curious to see how much training material, how much education, how much, you know, how many videos or opportunities that people like you. And I will have to learn how far these things can be pushed. Um, and, but like I said, this is the most excited.
Speaker 1 00:23:22 I’ve been so far in this whole Gutenberg craziness. One of the things back in the day in the early two thousands, when I first got started with WordPress was as I was learning things, I wrote tutorials. I wrote about my experience. I wrote about how I accomplished certain things in WordPress. And I’m hopeful that what we’re seeing with Gutenberg and the black editor and the black widgets and these block patterns I would like to see. And we’re kind of seeing this now, but a lot of it right now, I think is based in courses and what people were doing, the training material is kind of behind a paywall. I would like to see an influx of tutorials posted on people’s blogs about how they’re using the black editor, how they’re creating blocks, how they’re putting blacks together, different ingredients, different recipes of these black patterns and widgets that are creating without using plugins without really touching any code.
Speaker 1 00:24:21 I would, I would like to see that. And then hopefully as we start seeing the community do that, and everybody starts learning from each other. We can start transferring that material into the learn WordPress project for training materials and videos, and what have you. And we can just all help each other learn. Cause that was one of the cool things about the early days of WordPress is we were all, it felt like we’re all on the same level and we’re all trying to love each other up and we’re all learning from each other. And I feel like that we’re at a point in time now with what’s going on and the black editor in full site editing that we could, we could go through another wave of that. Yeah, I agree. I think that would be a really great thing, not just for, um, WordPress, but for all of us, uh, I’m always looking to try to learn and expand my skills and, uh, any kind of opportunity to learn from others is, is, you know, sign me up.
Speaker 1 00:25:15 And, uh, yeah, the WordPress community could certainly use that, that little bit of a refresh in that respect. Cause I do feel like a lot of knowledge is starting to really be centralized into little islands and, and uh, you know, you either know, or you don’t know, uh, or you, or you have to reinvent the wheel and that’s not how it should be. What about two to three years ago? I felt as though the pendulum in the WordPress scene was swayed heavily towards developers because there were, uh, these local dev environments, it seemed like they were popping up all over the place. You had these, uh, uh, certain toolkits or boiler plates that were popping up all over the place. And it just seemed like at that point in time, a lot of things, a lot of tools and resources and stuff were going towards the developer side of things.
Speaker 1 00:26:02 Now I’m starting to see and feel that’s going more towards the end user way of things. And I think there’s an opportunity for that. I don’t think it’s quite there yet. It’s not there yet as we get them as we get the full site editing and we get to see or have more opportunities to do things without knowing code, without touching code are very minimal in the way of code. You know, I, I, I think there’s a possibility there. And, and, uh, Tammy Lister who works on the theme team, she mentioned this in a recent post that she did. And I think I might’ve, I think we mentioned this on last week’s show, but she kind of highlights the excite, the excitement that the barriers, the barriers to entry in terms of theme design and what you’re going to be capable of doing in themes.
Speaker 1 00:26:46 It, it, it, there’s a whole new, exciting era coming to WordPress themes and that’s, and that’s pretty cool. Now, will those be free themes or paid themes? Ah, you know, I don’t know, would they be on Etsy? That’s that’s the question? Oh boy. Block-based things on Etsy. Let’s go. Uh, so Mark Wilkinson, he goes by WP, mark and Twitter. Uh, he published a tweet that says, quote, I am really beginning to wonder whether having a free plugin on the WordPress plugin repository is actually a good thing or not. The number of people who expect unlimited support for nothing is unsustainable. And because there is something free, they don’t want to pay for it. And quilt. And this again, raised a, a good conversation on, uh, on Twitter. And I wanted to mention a couple of replies that Scott K. Clark, uh, the founder of the pods plugin, uh, what he said, he contributed to this and provided a lot of food for thought.
Speaker 1 00:27:45 And he, and he says that this is tough. I can’t keep up with all of my personal plugin support forums separately. And it’s hard to keep up when I’m doing it all for free. In my spare time, I’ve never received a donation for any plugin other than pads. And that’s only a zero point 14% donor to active installs ratio. So like barely anything, almost nothing. And then he also goes on to say that the tooling for supporting your plugin forms for one plugin isn’t bad, but when you get to multiple plugins, it becomes challenging telling everyone you don’t do support. Won’t earn you any installs. You might as well just have all your stuff on GitHub at that point. I mean, that’s, that’s, that’s, that’s a pretty good point. He brings up and he says that in a free plugin with more than one support topic, weekly can easily snowball into untenable for someone doing it all for free and on the side of their normal job.
Speaker 1 00:28:36 So yeah, building the free plugin sounds great. And you really want to aim for high adoption, but if you don’t monetize it with actual freemium premium strategy, then you won’t be able to dig yourself out of that hole. Uh, and one of the last things he says is that also no one values free plugins. So finding people who are willing to donate is a challenge. Maybe if that, or could facilitate a way to donate to your favorite plugins all at once on a monthly donation, then maybe that could help or partnering with someone who could build that. And I thought he thought he brought, brings up a lot of good points that, you know, it’s when you host a bunch of plugins on.org, you are tied to their systems, to their framework, to their way of doing things. And you can’t, there’s no way for like a plugin author to, uh, turn off a form and redirect people to a support solution that they can manage they could do or control maybe on their site or something that’s third party, somewhere, somewhere off of.org.
Speaker 1 00:29:35 Um, and I wonder in the future that, you know, is, it seems pretty tough, you know, what a, what a kind of a crappy situation for a contributor to begin to really get undated with just a few plugins on that org and just maintaining them, or just being able to do support is just, it gets to the point where they don’t even want to deal with it anymore. Yeah. And I mean, I’ve kind of experienced this from the opposite side. So I worked, um, for rocket genius a long time ago and gravity forms is not available as like a free plugin. And then you upgrade to a paid level. Um, it’s paid right from the start. And so it’s not on the wordpress.org repository. Um, this made one, you would think you would make competition to the point where, you know, gravity forms could never survive because I mean, it, doesn’t the plugin repository really push all the sales.
Speaker 1 00:30:28 Um, no, that is not true at all. Thankfully, um, otherwise, you know, the, the stuff on like, uh, websites, uh, code canyon, and ThemeForest, wouldn’t be very successful either because a lot of them are paid right from the start. Um, but it’s also created this weird sour experience in a different way. Um, because what ends up happening is the people that are publishing free plugins, uh, end up really pushing very heavily towards like this upgrade early upgrade often kind of experience where you download the free plugin, you install it, you activate it, you get blasted with ads for like, you got to upgrade other pro to do like anything. And I completely understand why they feel the need to do that. But again, that feels like a really negative experience. When, you know, you’ve, you’ve taken your time to, you know, hunt down a plugin that has the functionality that you think you’re looking for, you install it to test it out.
Speaker 1 00:31:19 And the first thing you get is, sorry, this is like super feature limited. You have to pay to play. And that there’s that disconnect and experience and understanding, right? Cause you’re on the wordpress.org repository where everything’s free, free, free, free, so it’s free and you get free support there to support this for free right. And dumb expectations. There’s so many of those though, right? And it’s a system of dumb expectations that just kind of continue to hamper the project as a whole. I almost wished that the wordpress.org allowed for premium plugins to be listed there. Um, and I, that way we could maybe start getting away from this, like it’s either free or it’s premium, you know, you either pay up front or it’s free and you see this on WooCommerce, like WooCommerce has their own kind of, um, you know, add on repository on woocommerce.com.
Speaker 1 00:32:10 Um, will commerce is an automatic project at this point they’ve been bought and integrated. Um, and that experience exists there where you can say, I only want to see the free stuff. I only wanna see the paid stuff. Um, it’s not as curated, of course, as I think a lot of people would like it to be, but that experience that, that setting of expectations is already in place. And I think that would be super beneficial for plugin and theme authors as well on the wordpress.org repositories. Um, I think it’s kind of a mistake to, to continue to kind push this idea that everything WordPress is free, uh, or everything in WordPress has to start with a free version or everything. And WordPress has to have free support. Um, we gotta, we gotta to move away from that. We’re a little bit more mature than that as a project.
Speaker 1 00:32:52 Uh, you know, I’m, we’re having this camera shape cap conversation, I think back to the, my Joomla days. And one of the things I disliked about Jumanji is like all of the cool features I wanted to add to my site. I had to pay for it. There was not a good free version to do anything that I needed to do or accomplish for my site. And that’s not the case with WordPress, but with how much advertising there is in these freemium plugins. And like I said, I, I, I get it, you know, getting people to upgrade so that now your time is being paid for by these users who need support and want to continue upgrading their plugins. I mean, I understand that model, but I just, I dunno, I, I, I hope we don’t get to a point where freemium plug-ins on that or just becomes a, the default, the standard, like the majority of plugins that you download or want to use on.org to solve a problem are all freemium.
Speaker 1 00:33:55 So at one way or another, you’re going to get an ad. You’re going to get upsells. You’re going to be told, Hey, you know, there’s this commercial version, you know, and when we talk about premium plugins on that org, you know, I always think back to one of the things I’ve said in the past is that that’s never going to happen. We’re never going to see commercial plugins on a.org repository. And one of the major things I thought, or one of the reasons was because of, uh, uh, what’s the word I’m thinking of, um, kind of hosting somebody else’s code, but not really having any control over it. Uh, I mean, I can’t, I can’t think of the word, but I just don’t see a future. And I, I even want to say that Matt, even in the past has said that the plugin director will never have a commercial plugins listed.
Speaker 1 00:34:48 So I don’t, I don’t know if it happens, it could happen. We’ve seen things that’s never going to happen before that actually happened. So we’ll see. But I, to me, it’s gotten to the point where, uh, you know, I, I kinda with you just pay for it up front or it’s going to be free. No, none of this framing stuff. I do think that Scott has an interesting idea though with like, um, allowing like a patron thing or some kind of extended or continuous funding aggregate funding. Yeah. We could do it by installs, right? Like we have that data, we know which plugins are being installed. And so we could do kind of like a Amazon has this thing called Kindle unlimited. And so what happens is you as a user, you pay for Kindle unlimited and you can download as many books as you want.
Speaker 1 00:35:35 And what happens is depending on the number of pages, let’s say my book that has been read through Kindle and limited people, I get a share of the proceeds based on that percentage of pages read, um, for whatever they’ve collected. And they could, they could easily do a very similar system for, um, free plugins, uh, where, you know, number of installs or activations or whatever. Um, everyone, you know, people who are interested paying and let’s say it’s anywhere from like, so, so, so that, or could like set up, what would it be like a profit sharing thing basically. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So set that org would have the repo, they would provide the, the foundation they could in, since they’re providing the directory, you know, it’s, it’s like a storefront, we’ll take a percentage of the fee, but most of it would be directed towards the, the plugin author. And it would be based on, like you said, maybe some usage or some kind of data that would, that would be fair hopefully. Right. Right. Exactly. And then that incentivizes people to really, truly put effort into like the free projects to make them as good as possible to encourage and encourage as much adoption as possible. Yeah. Wow. Hey, that’s Scott solved it, man. Scott solved it, but yeah, let’s go.
Speaker 1 00:36:51 But Scott’s really busy over there at the pain membership pro I’m glad he found them a great place to work and a great team to be involved with. And I haven’t heard any, anything about pods lately. I wonder what’s going on over there. Smelly. It’s probably still chugging along. Uh, let’s see. And the biggest news of the week Yoast Yoast, the company is joining new fold digital. So, and for those who don’t know new, full digital, you’re not the only ones. It turns out that new, full digital is actually the new EIG EIG. Okay. Well, you said it, not me, but EIG stood for endurance international group. And you may have recognized some names under that umbrella, such as network solutions, Bluehost, HostGator, if any of those names make you cringe. Look, I’m sorry. But I, I, you know, I actually, that I’m right there with you.
Speaker 1 00:37:48 I mean, I’ve had some experiences with companies under the EIG umbrella that were just absolutely horrible. Uh, but you know, that’s individual companies and what have you. Um, in fact, VIG, they were bought out by new, new, full digital was like 3 billion. It was, it was some insane amount of money, but EIG was actually taken off the, uh, the stock stock exchange. So you can no longer trade in endurance international group. And there was also a fold in to web.com as well. Part of the acquisition with Neufeld digital. Anyways, what this all means is that the WordPress for SEO plugin, the Yoast agency is all going to new fold digital. And, uh, it’s I did not see this coming. I, you know, and in fact, when I had a conversation conversation on Twitter about family run multi-generational businesses, someone said, you know, if that’s going to happen, it’s probably going to be Yoast.
Speaker 1 00:38:47 Well, you can still, you can take that. That’s no longer the case. So basically the entire team, the staff will be moving over to new, full digital, which is great. Um, so it’s not coming to you layoffs or anything. They talk about that not much is going to change. Um, in fact, uh, did you know that Yost was founded back in 2010? So they’ve been around about 11 years and they’ve got over a hundred employees. Uh, the founders, uh, they all share, uh, sold their shares to the company. And yours pretty much said that, you know, it was time, like it’s funny how he described how TIS the season or it’s in the air for acquisitions and stuff. So it was kind of coming to that point. He mentioned that he was working on, he got stuck in the success of the company and he was so focused and busy and the financing part of the company that he really just didn’t have time or the, or the opportunities to switch to something else or to work on something else.
Speaker 1 00:39:49 So that’s what he’s going to be focused on within, I think the WordPress team over at blue host, he mentioned them. And you know, the nice thing about new full digital is they’ve got so many different companies and they’re so large that he could probably pick or choose where he wants to go to define a project, to work on it, find an opportunity, uh, to mess around with. But, you know, just, uh, I imagine that, uh, the team and everyone at Yoast to founders, they probably got a big payday. And I don’t know, yo, I mentioned that the timer has started for, of all to leave the company and just maybe start something new to start something fresh from scratch. He said, Nope. You know, no has no plans for that. And I said, well, yes, you know this, and I’ve talked about this before.
Speaker 1 00:40:38 It just seems to be the standard cycle that look you’ve, you’ve leveled up your company. You’ve got it to a point where it’s been acquired, uh, the finances and you’ve taken care of your employees and the finances. You don’t have to worry about that anymore. It’s not, it’s no longer yours just go off into the sunset and work on whatever it is you want to work on. But you know, he’s going to stick around for awhile and he’s going to hopefully any bets on how long a, for awhile is six months, a year, two years. I’m giving him two years, two years. Yeah. That’s pretty standard. I think for a lot of these purchase contracts. And I mean, maybe even a contract he’s required to stay there for a certain, for a number of years or a certain amount of time that that’s very common with founders in these acquisitions because you want it to look good.
Speaker 1 00:41:24 You want it to feel right in the community and you want everyone to kind of be happy and sunshine and feel like nothing’s going to change. But I tell you what, man, if you’re not hedging your bets and trying out rank math and some of the other SEO plugins that exist, I think you’re a little bit of a fool right now and that’s, that’s something else. So I, I was, I was talking to somebody and they said, well, okay, Yoast SEO, they’ve been acquired. Uh, awesome motive, acquired a all-in-one SEO, another big time SEO play in the last year. So, uh, what is out there in the SEO space that hasn’t been acquired, or maybe that’s run by an individual or an agency or whatnot. I’m not familiar with the SEO space. And, and is it even viable for someone to jump into the SEO space, to, to have another Yost or another all-in-one SEO?
Speaker 1 00:42:16 Yeah, I think rank math has, is a pretty young plugin. I don’t know too much about like the founders or how long it’s been around or anything, but I found it to be a really great plugin in terms of helping someone who is not an expert in SEO, like myself, um, walked through the steps of kind of making my content and my posts and pages as SEO as possible. It’s, it’s pretty idiot proof. I kinda like it. Um, it uses less memory than a Yost on the sites that we run it on. Uh, it, it does it load slightly faster in terms of like both backend and front end experience. It’s a lighter weight plugin. I mean, I dunno. I just, I like it. I am not saying, Hey, everyone go a hundred percent on rank math. Uh, I think that we’re getting to, especially in the business world, getting to the point where you kind of have to hedge your bets, like, cause as you said at the top of this who saw this coming, I didn’t see this coming.
Speaker 1 00:43:10 I didn’t see an acquisition with EIG coming. Uh, and EIG is not a business that I currently want to work with. Uh, I mean just to kind of put it out there, uh, go daddy for a long time was one of those companies as well. I think that their business has worked really hard to try to fix some of that. Those brand concerns that a lot of people in the web and WordPress space have had. And I think that they are not necessarily, they’re not on my instant, no list anymore. Um, but EIG as a brand is, is still on that instant no list. And so Yost joining them for me is going to be an instant. No, and I think I’m gonna work very hard to work with my clients to make sure that they’re not using that software anymore because I have no trust that they’re going to be able to keep the bad business practices of their new masters out of that plugin.
Speaker 1 00:44:01 I just don’t. Um, so we never know how much these things go for how much money is involved, but I have to imagine an acquisition like this involving millions. Oh, for sure. Yeah. Easily. This, this seems like a, if I had to guess if I had to put a number out there someone’s willing to gun to my head, I would say, um, you’re talking about probably 10 to $30 million for this acquisition probably man. No, I actually there’s some numbers for a couple of other different plugins, smaller in scope, but still very successful. And I’ve heard a couple of million going for those. So, you know, I dunno, oh, I wanted to do this. So I’m going to try and do this real quick. As we do the show, I’m going to take a look at the WordPress, that org plugins page. I’m going to look at the, see all browse, popular plugins page, a contact form seven is still up there.
Speaker 1 00:45:00 Has that been acquired by anybody? I don’t think, I don’t think Yoast SEO has. Then you’ve got your ELA mentor, classic editor. You can acquire that because you know, I think that’s owned by WordPress contributors and whatnot. You’ve got WooCommerce. Akismet Jetpack, really simple SSL. That’s a very popular one. I don’t that hasn’t been acquired yet. And you’ve got word fence. Can tech forum by WP forms or WordPress importer or duplicate posts, then you got updraft. Plus I don’t know. I’m not, I’m not seeing a lot of opportunities on the, uh, popular plugins page for acquisitions. This was the big one this in indeed, indeed. It was. So we’ll have to see, we’ll have to give it time how the product evolves. It’s always, you know, when you, when you, when a company acquire something, there’s no change upfront, but inevitably things change. People, change business practices, change revenue, generation techniques change.
Speaker 1 00:46:08 I mean, so it’s just a matter of the integrity and trust that Yost has built his agency and his team of people and his employees. If they’ve built over the years, how new full digital keeps a hold of that and built on top of it. And hopefully they can do that, you know, but, but the company is under the EIG new, full digital umbrella. They, a lot of them have bad reputations. So I won’t give credit though. There is one company that I think, I think deserves some credit on being on the up and up. I, I think it’s blue host blue hosts, uh, has attributed a lot to WordPress. Yeah. They may be on the recommended hosting page that we’re . But you, aside from that, they’ve, they’ve hired people to work on WordPress full time. They’ve they’ve become great sponsors for work camps. Um, I think blue host out of the ones that I’ve seen under the umbrella, Polly, you know, for me, it gets the most credit. I’m being a good, a good company to do business with. It makes you wonder though, if, if they’re able to kind of slowly build that up, will they lift kind of the rest of the AIG as a corporation up, um, you know, will the rest of the AIG and all their areas kinda, you know, you know, at the very least say, Hey, look, look what we did here. It’s not all bad, right?
Speaker 1 00:47:32 They’d be able to look at blue host or some of the others and say, look, look what we’re capable of doing now with this new approach, new leadership, new company, what have you, it’s it’s not all bad, you know, we’ve gotten over that. That’s what you would want to see, but only time will tell. Yep. I agree. So man, does somebody want to acquire WP mainline, outsell? I mean, you give me a million and that you give me a couple of, you know, 700 zeros. I’ll take it. That’s all. I was fast, my goodness, seven zeros mailing already. And this is something I think about a lot, you know, these, these founders of these companies and the, the do these acquisitions and like, especially in the WordPress space and millions of dollars are involved. I just think to myself, man, walk off into the sunset.
Speaker 1 00:48:18 Your, your house is paid off your kid’s couch to which it’s paid off. You’re probably set for life. At least I would be set for life with millions of dollars in an acquisition. Why, why bother staying in this space? Why bother continuing in the scene other than, you know, and that is if you don’t have to, you know, based on contract obligation to lie, why not just go off and do something new or build a garage and start a sports car collection? I don’t know, man, but you kind of, I mean, WP mainline kind of answers that question, doesn’t it?
Speaker 1 00:48:53 It does actually frost, WP frost by Brian Garner, Brian garners. That’s another great example. Yeah. Why, why do we do these kinds of things? Because we want to feel good at what we’re doing. We want to be able to contribute in some meaningful way, and it’s not, it’s nice to get the money out of the way and no longer have it being the driving factor, because then you can kind of, you know, do what you’re passionate about or what you really love. And if that pays off, I mean, you’re just kind of laughing and if it doesn’t pay off, hopefully you’ve made enough previously that you can kind of ride it a little bit. Right. Um, and, and I hope that everyone who’s, who’s passionate about WordPress and making it a career and a business has the opportunity, including myself at some point, hopefully to get money out of the way and really make this, you know, all about the passion and the love of the project.
Speaker 1 00:49:42 Absolutely. So, um, I don’t know. I don’t know who’s next. In fact, well, actually there’s a partnership or something involving published press that was involved today, I think with some plugins or company. So there’s, there’s these, there’s these things going on, right? Like yo said, TIS the season for acquisitions and, and, and money just flowing all over the place. Uh, I don’t know. Who’s next? What are some big, uh, sort of individual run WordPress companies in the space that are left? I don’t, I wouldn’t even have to look it up, man. I don’t know. I mean, yeah, what, we’re, what we’re starting to get now in the WordPress scene in terms of plugins and themes is like mini or you just have one company, but you branch out and they’ve got this plugin and this plugin and this theme shop and this business, right. We’re starting to kind of, kind of see that consolidation in the WordPress space.
Speaker 1 00:50:38 And I, you know, and it’s, uh, the, someone has mentioned to me because I brought this up about, uh, how, um, it’s been years since I’ve talked to so many people in the WordPress space. I was looking at my direct messages on Twitter and it’s been so long since I’ve spoken to so many people, but I think Dave, Dave Coney mentioned to me, he said the WordPress space has changed so much in the last 10 years that the implementers and the tinkerers and all that have really decreased. And now it’s just a bunch of plugin and theme shops in agencies now where, you know, it’s, it’s not a bunch of individuals working on individual things and trying to solve certain problems that we’ve gotten to the point now where it’s just big time or groups of people or companies that are doing things. It it’s, it’s kind of hard for me to reach out and talk to those people or those companies, because now it’s not just one person, it’s, it’s a bunch of people. So I think that kind of has plays into it. You’re going to have to interview entire teams at some point. Ah, yeah, yeah. That’s going to be, that’s going to be real great. It’s real fun to manage when you’re doing a podcast, all those different voices, but um, yeah. So outside of that, is there, uh, anything else on a, on a docket? I think we covered pretty much most of what’s going on here, uh, for this week.
Speaker 1 00:52:03 Yeah, I would agree. All right. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to wrap it up here. You can find a show notes for this episode and all other episodes on WP, mainline.com and subscriptions are open. So if you enjoy this episode and you want to hear more, please go to WP, mainline.com, click on the subscribe, link at the top and choose whichever option you would. Uh, you feel comfortable going through with, you know, there’s the rail buff or the real fan. I think that’s kind of cool terms I could use for my subscribers. Uh, pretty neat stuff there. Um, and Malcolm, where can people find you? And, uh, what have you been up to lately? A lot of my time lately has been on press titan.com as well as over at Canberra creative. And I am also able to be found on Twitter at find purpose. Excellent. So that’s going to do it for this edition of WP. Mainline. Everybody have a safe, enjoyable weekend and we’ll talk to you again next Thursday or Friday. I don’t know. We’ll see. Whoever’s the guest co-host well, we’ll figure it out so long everybody

3 thoughts on “WP Mainline Episode 7 – Yoast Acquired by Newfold Digital, Freemium Sucks, and Capital P Dangit”

  1. Indeed, freemium is often ugly. It’s can be ugly on the user end with all those nags. And it can definitely get messy on the seller’s end with the support load and issues of entitlement. I’m working on my first commercial-only plugin and it happens to be prefixed with WP. I say if you’re going to run a race then don’t choose hurdles. Focus on a premium product 100%.

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